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Old 5th February 2013, 06:04 PM   #51
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Hey Kevin,

Thanks again for replying ;-)

Quote:
There should be no harm in trying it. At least with the dual-stator element you will have the option of push-pull drive.
Considering things, I'll try it out with the fully single-ended amplifier first (have made it - it works - looks very stable) and then hopefully this is "good" (to my ears). Otherwise, I'll have to consider matters again - and to that end have your tips now ... ;-)

Greetings from a snow-clad Denmark (:-))

Jesper
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Old 5th February 2013, 07:07 PM   #52
Struth is offline Struth  Canada
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Hi Guys

Another thing to consider is the typical efficiency of ESL headphones. Most are at or over 100db with 100Vrms input - that's 50Vrms on each stator.

That's pretty darn loud!

A moderate SPL of 80dB takes one-tenth the drive voltage to be at one-hundredth the power level. Even with only one stator driven, this should be an attainable loudness. You might find the extra THD driving it this way offsets some of the clarity one gets with solid-state circuits compared to tubes, making it more listenable.

The balance between pristine clean performance and an emotionally fulfilling harmonic enhancement is up to each person to find for themselves. With many circuits, it is possible to have the "warmth on a dial"...

It is easy for any kind of headphone to sound harsh, so some smoothing of the treble can be welcome. When the sound is very clean, there is often a drive to turn it up louder. In light of trying to retain one's hearing over the long term so music can be enjoyed for the entire time, having some soft clipping or other nuance that counters the turn-it-up phenomenon might be a good thing.

Have fun
Kevin O'Connor
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Old 7th February 2013, 07:57 PM   #53
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Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Hola Kevin,

Hmmm... I somehow considered the attainable loudness in terms of making some measurements on my current dynamic headphone. I found out that when I listened at my most likely highest level the headphone amp output a little more than 100 mVs (as measured with my fluke DM). I know this may not be the actual maximum value but it made me assume that even with an electrostatic HP I'm probably not going to need much voltage or power.

So, for now I try with the fairchild KSC3503 & complementary and if I find that I need a much lower voltage I'm going to use some - possibly - better transistors and lower voltages.

Greetings from DK,

Jesper
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Old 7th February 2013, 09:41 PM   #54
Struth is offline Struth  Canada
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Hi Guys

Jesper, you can probably find specs for your headphones on the web if you don't still have the info that came with them. Most specs include an efficiency rating of db's of sound for 1mW of input. If the 1mW is not stated, they might state the input as a voltage, and from there you have to work out the input power using the impedance and Ohm's Law.

From there, you can determine if your "loud" is above or below the rated loudness for the reference power, and by how much.

Since the ESL "power" is not really power and the energy consumed by the element is in fractions of microjoules, the really useful spec we have to go on is the typical loudness at the seeming reference voltage of 100Vrms. Like I said above, a more reasonable listening level is closer to 80db and you can easily get this with 10Vrms. Being able to make a realistic assessment of the power and loudness required allows for a simplification of the drive circuit and relaxing of supply voltages.

Being able to build a lower voltage driver saves so much hassle. Nothing has to be cascoded. Voltages are safe. The risk of pop-through of the diaphragm is eliminated. The risk of a shock is greatly reduced even though you still need to have a reasonably high bias voltage. And the choice of circuits expands.

Have fun
Kevin O'Connor
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Old 14th February 2013, 10:14 AM   #55
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Hey again Kevin,

Thanks again for replying and considering ... ;-)

Quote:
Jesper, you can probably find specs for your headphones on the web if you don't
still have the info that came with them.
As it is my current headphone is an Onkyo DP600. It's some years old and it's "not in any league" today when it comes to sound quality ... but I have it while the next HP is being made. However, it's probably not very well-known - I have been unable to find any specifications on the internet. But to my memory it had about a 96 dB sensitivity for a 1 mW power - does that sound realistic? The DC resistance of the coils are about 600 ohms.

I'll keep your considerations about needed power/voltage in mind. It'll be much easier (and better sounding due to other components) if I can use a lower voltage ...

Best wishes for your day,

Jesper
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